First-Responders to Share Initial Incident Data Through ARA's App

Raleigh, N.C. - About two years ago, the Department of Homeland Security’s Science & Technology Directorate sponsored development of the First Responder Support Tools (FiRST) to provide the first-responder community of 9 million simple mobile and Windows PC-based tools to assist them when faced with improvised explosive device or hazardous material incidents.

FiRST provides text and map-based information on incident standoff, damage contours, downwind evacuation zones, roadblocks, surrounding points of interest and assorted reference material, which is critical in situations that require areas to be secured and evacuated quickly.

Applied Research Associates ( has begun development for a DHS S&T-sponsored enhancement of the FiRST application to allow for sharing of incident data among FiRST users and with external systems. Development of the FiRST Sharing Service (FSS) will allow organizations to establish FiRST data sharing services without the need to host any hardware or software. Organizations will be able to define users, configure user access rights and establish sharing rights with external systems (for example, Virtual USA). FiRST users associated with an FSS account will be able to post incident data, receive alerts when other data are posted, and retrieve incident data to allow all users of the FiRST apps to see the same incident data.

According to Dr. Carl Jerrett, the FiRST Principal Investigator, “The consistent comment that we have received from our nearly 4,500 FiRST users is that they would like the data to be shared. The FiRST Sharing Service will provide this and is a huge step in ensuring responders will have the same incident picture when making decisions.”

The FiRST development team will be updating the iOS, Android and Windows PC applications this summer, and users should see the enhanced capabilities by October 2013.Organizations will be able to sign up for organizational accounts through the ARA online store (

Get more information about FiRST applications and future enhancements at

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